Neural networks


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Neural networks, fuzzy logic and genetic programming are some of the latest artificial intelligence ideas. Are they likely to remain lab-based products, or is there potential for their use in industry?

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Some are already being used from what I know. I haven't looked too deep into the code, but there's an experimental genetic algorithm for I/O scheduling on linux, which is actually working extremely well (Using it right now). I've also seen quite a few companies trying to put neural networks to use. The boundary between computing and AI is not as well defined as most think.

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http://20q.net - a neural net type thingy learning from the game of twenty questions, it's quite interesting. Everything it's learned has been from user input - the developer only thought it 20 facts about a cat to start it off, and then passed it around all of his friends to play with.
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There's two camps of people. Those who things humans effectively have little logic gates going off inside our heads and those who think we're less rational. Soft AI is something we're doing quite well at. It's easy to program and everything. I've done some AI coding this summer for my final project (image recognition stuff) and it's really not all that advanced even though it sounds fancy. It's just a few basic principles and it's still the humans who do all the thinking. I have an engineering background (4th year engineering major) and what we do all the time is approximate things as linear systems of differential equations. You can take quite complex behaviour and write it down in terms of vectors. Like if you wanted to explain how a flock moves you might find it easy to write the velocity as a function of (1) distance from next closest bird (2) current direction (3) walls/obstructions (4) predator etc. You might have a few coefficients or functions or something. It's essentially a "system", you pass a variable through a bunch of transfer functions some of which use feedback to provide stability and bam, out comes a response.

Hard AI is something we're quite a long way away from. The other camp doesn't believe that logic gates and everything could fully describe consciousness. True independant thinking is not something that will come from programming alone. Since at the fundamental level computers use simple and/or gates it won't work.

So how does the brain work. Well, psychologists have a pretty good idea but they're very abstracted from the actual gray matter. We can also put these things under electron microscopes and see them function and grow and everything but we have no idea how they organize information. We're missing the "RTL" (bad chip analogue).

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I just saw a documentary last night about neural networks and chips. Some company showed that neural networks from cells grow easily on silicon. This company was growing neural networks and cells ontop of a standard PC chip in hopes of intergrating the two for the next evolution in processing.

Some other company was working on getting the brain functions mapped so that they can intergrate cpu's into the brain. So with your brain, you can control computers and stuff. The company was saying imagine being able to get any data on your PC in microseconds right from your own brain just by thinking about it.

They gave an example of saving all the worlds phone books on your PC and then being able to recite anyones phone number within microseconds just by thinking about it.

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They gave an example of saving all the worlds phone books on your PC and then being able to recite anyones phone number within microseconds just by thinking about it.

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Wow, talk about having your brain stuffed with crap :)

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